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Sociolinguistics of the Arab World

Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
Sociolinguistics of the Arab World
University of Essex
University of Essex
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
MA Q18412

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 LG981-7-FY MA Dissertation Core 60 Compulsory Optional
02 LG516-7-AU Variation in Arabic I Compulsory 15 Optional Optional
03 LG532-7-AU or LG632-7-SP Compulsory with Options 15 Optional Optional
04 LG554-7-SP Sociolinguistic Methods 1: Data Collection Compulsory 15 Optional Optional
05 Sociolinguisitics or Linguistics option from list Optional 15 Optional Optional
06 Sociolinguisitics or Linguistics option from list Optional 15 Optional Optional
07 LG699-7-SP or Linguistics option from list Optional 15 Optional Optional
08 LG654-7-AU Sociolinguistic Methods: Data Coding and Analysis Compulsory 15 Optional Optional
09 Linguistics option from list Optional 15 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

The specific aim of the programme is to provide training in the analysis of Arabic data within the framework of sociolinguistic theory.
As a programme in sociolinguistics, it provides students with the opportunity to develop general skills in sociolinguistic analysis, which include: Understanding critically the nature and status of linguistic data.
Acquiring the necessary methodological and analytical skills to formulate, test and critically evaluate research problems in language use, and to collect, analyse and present empirical research.
Developing a critical appreciation of literature in the field.
Undertaking original research.
Acquiring a foundation for further study, employment and life-long learning.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Knowledge of the linguistic history of Arabic, and the salient features of the major Arabic dialects
A2 An informed view of the parameters of variation in spoken Arabic.
A3 practical and theoretical knowledge of major paradigms and interpretive traditions in sociolinguistics
A4 Knowledge of key concepts, issues, ideas, theories and styles of argumentation and evaluation criteria used in contemporary sociolinguistic work.
A5 Skills in academic argumentation and academic writing.
A6 Experience in linguistic analysis of raw data
Learning Methods: A1-5 are addressed in lectures, seminars, class and tutorial discussions; A6 is addressed in practical sessions in data analysis.
There is also office and email consultation with staff as well as written and oral feedback on work
Assessment Methods: A1-6 are assessed by coursework in the form of essays or small scale projects which require data collection.
The dissertation is instrumental in the achievement of A4-6

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Critically evaluate contrasting linguistic theories/ accounts/explanations/approaches, demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between theory and data or practice
B2 Abstract and synthesise information from a range of sources (lectures/seminars/classes, journals, books, internet, etc.) identifying central concepts and findings
B3 Make observations and generalisations about behaviour (or data, or other materials) and analyse relevant types of behaviour, data, or materials using relevant methodologies
Learning Methods: B1-3 are developed in seminars, classes and tutorials.
B2 is developed in directed reading of library and internet materials, as well as printed instructional course materials.
There is also office and email consultation with staff, as well as oral and written feedback on work.
Assessment Methods: B1-3 are assessed by written coursework.
The dissertation is central in assessing B3.

C: Practical skills

C1 Retrieve information from a variety of sources (e.g. Library, WWW, CD-rom)
C2 Utilise techniques and tools relevant to the collection, analysis and presentation of sociolinguistic data
C3 Propose, plan, undertake, write up and present an independent piece of work (e.g. a survey, or report, or project, or set of materials) with a minimum of guidance
Learning Methods: Throughout the scheme practical skills C1-3 are developed through independent learning in preparation for classes, seminars, essays and presentation.
These skills are mobilised in preparation for the dissertation.
Office and email consultation with staff, as well as written/oral feedback on work is provided through both the coursework and dissertation phases of the degree
Assessment Methods: Coursework and essays play an important part in the assessment of skills C1-3.
C2 and C3 become particularly salient in the marking of the dissertation.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicating complex ideas effectively in writing, writing essays, reports and reviews using the appropriate register and style
D2 Using advanced computational tools and software packages to obtain, store and process information stored in electronic form (e.g. from the Library, WWW or CD-rom), and (where appropriate) to analyse data and results
D3 Under guidance, interpreting relevant statistical information and, where required, showing familiarity with complex procedures of symbol manipulation
D4 Analysing complex data-sets or behaviour, abstracting insightful generalisations and testing abstract hypotheses
D5 Planning and executing projects in collaboration with others
D6 Under guidance, working independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management in tackling and solving complex problems
Learning Methods: D1, D2, D4 and D6 are taught throughout the scheme in preparation for lectures, seminars, tutorials and coursework assignments.
Oral presentation in class may be used to develop skills of oral communication in parallel with D1; students are also encouraged to collaborate with others to achieve common goals, e.g.
In project planning, management and presentation.
Seminars and tutorials are used to develop D3 and D5
Assessment Methods: Coursework essays are used in the development of all key skills.
Coursework exercises/projects specifically develop D3 and D5.
The dissertation constitutes an overall assessment of these skills in judging communication, problem solving and independent learning.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: